Comey Slams Trump’s Media Bashing About Russia: ‘As Unfake As You Can Possibly Get’

Throughout Donald Trump’s campaign for president, and his subsequent residence in the White House, he has displayed a visceral hatred for the media. Virtually any story that was the least bit critical was branded as “fake news.”

Comey Trump

Trump is especially sensitive to allegations stemming from his unsavory connections to Russia. The linkages between himself, his family, and his associates are plentiful and disturbing. And despite the confirmation of numerous meetings and investigations, Trump stubbornly denies any relationship. His belligerent denials are a rejection of reality and often attempt to shift blame elsewhere. For instance:

Thursday’s Senate hearing with James Comey briefly, but significantly, touched on this issue. The former FBI Director was asked specifically about Trump’s characterization of the Russian interference in the election. His answer was an unequivocal repudiation of Trump’s anti-media position:

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM): The President has repeatedly talked about Russia’s involvement in the U.S. election cycle as a “hoax” and as “fake news.” Can you talk a little bit about what you saw as FBI Director that demonstrates how serious this action actually was, and why there was an investigation in the first place?

James Comey: There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. And they did it with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts. And it was an active measures campaign driven from the top of that government. There is no fuzz on that. It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community. And the members of this committee have seen the intelligence. It’s not a close call. That happened. That’s about as unfake as you can possibly get.

What Comey is referring to is the overwhelming agreement that Russia actively interfered with the election. Seventeen separate intelligence agencies, from the State Department to the Pentagon, all independently affirm that. In fact, the only official resistance comes from the White House itself.

Having no credible argument to refute the consensus about Russia’s activities, Trump resorts to smearing the media. It’s a weak line of attack based entirely on his personal animus and driven by desperation and fear. But it’s also dangerous. Trump is purposefully denigrating an institution that is vital to the stability of a healthy democracy. He is attacking the very nature of the free press. And it is his intention to undermine the public’s confidence in all news providers. That is among the reasons that advocates for journalists branded Trump as “an ‘unprecedented threat’ to press freedom.”

Comey’s testimony reiterates what many have said before him. And it is a potent indictment of Trump’s irresponsible and reckless media bashing. And yet, the predictable result of his remarks will be an escalation by Trump of his assaults on the press. Hopefully the press will have the courage to defend their own honor and not let Trump get away with his self-serving campaign to destroy ethical journalism.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

LOL: Crack Fox News Team Uncovers SHOCKING Anti-Trump T-Shirt Conspiracy

Fox News is always on the lookout for the sort of breaking news that impacts the lives of the American people. And they aren’t afraid to spend hundreds of hours on Benghazi myths, Kenyan birth certificates, or imaginary voter fraud. The diligent sleuths at Fox News work tirelessly to inform their viewers of pertinent issues. After all, these are the heroes who previously broke the “Boob Bombs” conspiracy wide open, and disclosed the existence of “Jihad Monkeys.”

Fox News

This week Fox News has landed another incredible scoop that is certain to roil the runways of Washington. The political fashion establishment will never be the same. On an episode of Fox and Friends First, co-host Heather Childers unleashed a sure-fire Pulitzer winning expose. With no fear of the potential consequences, she launched into into this harrowing story (video below):

“Media bias on full display! Newspapers now cashing in on T-shirts splashed with anti-President Trump rhetoric. The Washington Post offering this shirt which says ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness.’ The LA Times selling shirts that say ‘Journalism matters.’ And the Chicago Tribune’s featured the line ‘Speaking truth to power since 1947.’ The shirts being sold for around twenty bucks.

[Editor’s note: Links added in case you want to witness this atrocity for yourself – or purchase one]

Where else but on Fox News could you learn that t-shirts extolling the virtues of a free press were actually attacks on President Donald Trump? Only Fox’s keen eye would notice the anti-Trump message even though there is nothing that even alludes to him. The mere suggestion that journalism might be an honorable profession is evidence of Trump hate. Recall that Trump famously declared that the media is “the enemy of the American people.” He has lashed out reporters as “liars,” “sleazy,” and “horrible people.” And when he isn’t throwing them out of his rallies and press briefings, he’s branding them as “fake news.”

Now the curtain has been pulled aside and everyone can see that any expression of support for the First Amendment is a backhanded slap at the President. So don’t be fooled by hateful slogans like “Journalism matters.” It doesn’t. It’s just a malicious tool used by traitors to undermine the Trump presidency. Thank goodness Fox News is here to reveal these truths. And for anyone who is confused as to why none of this reflects on what Fox News does, rest easy. That’s a red herring because, as any media expert will tell you, Fox News has never engaged in journalism.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

SRSLY? Rudy Giuliani Says Media-Hater Trump Will ‘Get Us Back To A Free Press’

Rudy Giuliani appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program Friday in a successful attempt to certify his reputation as a mush-brained old coot. This pair of Donald Trump fluffers were in awe of The Donald’s performance at his press conference harangue on Wednesday. Watching Trump berate a CNN reporter for daring to ask a question struck Giuliani as respectful of a free press.

Rudy Giuliani

The exchange between Giuliani and Hannity revealed just how deranged the former mayor has become. His comments lauded Trump as a breath of fresh air and a champion of journalistic ethics. No, seriously. Take these actual excerpts for example:

Giuliani: “It is refreshing and it is very good for our democracy that we have a president that is trying to get us back to a free press.”

Unfortunately, most journalists would vehemently disagree with Giuliani’s worshipful remarks. In fact, the Committee to Protect Journalists called Trump “an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists.” Their lengthy press release also included these criticisms:

“Since the beginning of his candidacy, Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centerpiece of his campaign. Trump has routinely labeled the press as ‘dishonest’ and ‘scum’ and singled out individual news organizations and journalists.

“He has mocked a disabled New York Times journalist and called an ABC News reporter a ‘sleaze’ in a press conference. He expelled Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from a campaign press conference because he asked an ‘impertinent’ question, and has publicly demeaned other journalists.”

In addition to that, the National Press Club put out a statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.” So the people most concerned about the welfare of journalists don’t regard Trump as either refreshing or good for democracy.

Giuliani: “[Trump] may actually reestablish journalistic ethics.”

Giuliani didn’t bother to elaborate on how Trump would do that. He must think that revoking the press credentials of reporters who don’t lavish him with praise advances ethical journalism. Among the news organizations Trump has muzzled are the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Politico, Huffington Post, Daily Beast, and Univision.

Even worse, he said that CNN’s reporting about him was in some way similar to what the Nazis did. However, he never explained what the similarity was. It’s bad enough that he would trivialize the very real horrors that millions suffered. But he descends further into the unspeakably vile by claiming that he’s the victim.

Giuliani: “He’s an honest man. So they’re not gonna catch him in some kind of lie.”

This may be the best indication that Giuliani has totally lost his mind. Donald Trump is the most notoriously pathological liar that has ever run for president. He ranks at the bottom of PolitiFact’s scoring of all the presidential candidates for the 2016 cycle. See for yourself with this collection of fully documented lies: The Trump Bullshitopedia.

Giuliani was just named by Trump to lead his cybersecurity team, a position for which he is woefully unqualified. But he is even less qualified as a spokesman for journalists or the best interests of a free press. Especially if he thinks that someone with as much contempt for the First Amendment as Trump has shown could ever have a positive influence on it.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump’s Latest Tweet Threatens The Media (And Press Freedom) For Doing Their Job

Friday morning Donald Trump took another step toward the totalitarian dystopia he yearns to rule. He’s spent months disparaging the intelligence community on which he must rely. At the same time he has defended Russia from charges of hacking that has now been proven beyond question.

Trump Baby

And now he is proposing concrete actions to punish the free press that he so blatantly abhors. This is what he tweeted this morning while waiting to be briefed on the Russian hacking report:

The frightening aspects of that cannot be be understated. Trump is proposing an investigation of a news organization that did precisely what is expected of it. NBC utilized its sources to acquire government information that is relevant to all citizens. And contrary to Trump’s frantic accusation, there is no indication that any of it was top secret. The government was going to release a public version of the report anyway. NBC just scooped them.

What is apparent is that Trump is more concerned about NBC getting info that’s about to be released anyway, than he is about Russians hacking American citizens and political organizations. He is distracting from the far more significant news that Russia had helped him achieve his tainted victory. They even celebrated and congratulated themselves for their successful effort.

It’s important to note the distinction between what Trump’s allies in Russia did and what NBC did. The hackers stole private information from individuals and organizations. That data was not public property. Russia, WikiLeaks, et al, were not revealing government secrets that the people had a right to know. NBC, on the other hand did just that. The Intelligence reports they previewed were paid for by taxpayers for their benefit. So NBC was performing a public service, while Russia/WikiLeaks was invading privacy. But only the privacy of Democrats so as to assist their favored candidate, Donald Trump.

Trump doesn’t care about Russians hacking an American election. He has defended them, and his BFF Vladimir Putin, from the start. Even worse, he has maligned the dangerous work of American patriots serving their country. Under the circumstances, one has to wonder why any intelligence operative would risk their life for Trump during his administration.

Trump has also been a constant foe of the free press. He has called reporters “sleazy” and “dummies” and “liars” and worse. Respected journalists had their credentials revoked to prevent them from covering his rallies. Organizations that represent the interests of journalists have condemned him as a “threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

That condemnation is playing out bigly today with this new attack on the press. And Trump has still never called for a congressional investigation of the Russian hacking. His whining about NBC sharing intelligence before he has seen it rings hollow. After all, it’s easy to get intelligence before Trump sees it when he doesn’t even bother to take intelligence briefings.

UPDATE: As it turns out, about six hours before Trump’s tweet WikiLeaks posted a tweet that is eerily similar:

That tweet also falsely states that the information NBC reported was “Top Secret.” And it makes the point that NBC received the info before Trump. Considering the similarities it is likely that Trump simply copied the contents of the WikiLeaks tweet for his own. And that’s just more proof that they are working together.

It’s also astonishing that WikiLeaks is complaining about “leaks” to the media. That’s their whole friggin’ reason for existing. But those dishonest hypocrites go nuts when someone else disseminates information acquired through legitimate journalistic means (as opposed to hacking and theft) if it is adverse to their partisan agenda.

Trump Threatens Freedom Of The Press With Chilling Statement On The Media

To say that Donald Trump is no friend of a free press is an understatement of Olympian proportions. His open hostility toward the media generally, and journalists individually, virtually drips with white hot hatred. And his animosity is focused solely on his own self-interest and his paranoid perception that everyone is against him.

Donald Trump

As a result, Trump has treated the press like cattle, forcing them into cramped pens at his rallies. Then he points them out to his followers as “disgusting scum” and jokes about killing them. And those are the lucky ones who didn’t have their credentials revoked.

As the campaign progresses and Trump’s prospects for victory dwindle, he is getting even more maniacal in his rage against the media. Now he has issued a statement spurred by the recent bid by AT&T to acquire TimeWarner. The content and tone of the statement should worry every American who values the First Amendment of the Constitution. It was written by his Senior Economic Advisor, Peter Navarro, and addresses a very real problem: Monopoly Power of New Media Conglomerates. The problem is that he twists the whole subject into an ego-driven tirade against his perceived enemies. It’s opening paragraph states that:

“Over a hundred years ago, a pro-business Teddy Roosevelt busted up more than 40 oil, railroad, steel and other ‘trusts’ that were wielding their rapacious monopoly power to gouge consumers and interfere with the efficient functioning of the American economy. Donald Trump will break up the new media conglomerate oligopolies that have gained enormous control over our information, intrude into our personal lives, and in this election, are attempting to unduly influence America’s political process.”

Not bad, so far. But rather than making a reasoned argument against the concentration of corporate interests, he turns it into a political diatribe. He complains that these media monopolies are “the very same media conglomerates now pushing Hillary Clinton’s agenda.” Then he singles out “NBC, and its Clinton megaphone MSNBC,” for “engag[ing] in their Never Trump tactics.” With regard to the AT&T/TimeWarner deal he ignores the anti-trust issues and instead whines about “the wildly anti-Trump CNN.”

Moving on to the newspaper sector, Trump seems to be obsessed with the ownership of the New York Times. That’s likely because one of the its biggest shareholders is the Mexican billionaire, Carlos Slim. Just like with the judge in his Trump University fraud case, Trump is offended that anyone with Mexican heritage is permitted to do business in America. For the record, Slim owns 17 percent of the publicly traded Class A shares of the Times. The vast majority of the company is owned by the Sulzberger family, including the privately held Class B shares. Additionally, Slim has no representation on the company’s board of directors. So Trump’s inference of influence by Slim is entirely a product of his warped imagination.

Notice anything missing from this unhinged harangue? Trump never mentions Fox News, one of the biggest media conglomerate in the world. It’s reach extends to news, entertainment, television, films, publishing and digital media, on an international scale. It’s clear that Trump only has a problem with media monopolies that he doesn’t like. Conservative oligopolies are A-OK in his book. And if it weren’t obvious enough, Navarro went on Fox News where he was asked by Neil Cavuto if Trump aimed to break up existing media companies. Navarros’s answer: “Not this one, Neil.”

So, as long as you don’t piss off President Trump you’re free to be an abusive monopoly. Otherwise, watch out. But that isn’t how a free press works. To the contrary, that’s how a fascist dictatorship works. And Trump reiterated this position Sunday in an interview with the local CBS affiliate in Miami (video). He was asked “Do you think there is too much protection allowed in the first amendment?” He responded by advocating for the system in England where he thinks it’s easier to sue the media. Continuing, he said that “Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and get away with it.”

Let that sink in. Trump favors a foreign system where there is no First Amendment, which he believes allows for “too much protection.” And he is troubled that the press in the United States is “allowed to say whatever they want.” OMG! Somebody needs to put a stop that sort of freedom right away. And who better than Trump, who in the same interview declares that “I’m a big believer – tremendous believer of the freedom of the press. Nobody believes it stronger than me.” Uh huh.

That must be why prominent advocates for freedom of the press have made scathing denunciations of Trump. The Committee to Protect Journalists blasted him as “an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists.” The National Press Club condemned his anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

This new statement by Trump on media monopolies is just another self-serving scam intended to advance his personal interests and punish his foes. The blatant partisanship baked into it disqualifies it from serious consideration. Concentration of power in a shrinking corporate media landscape is a truly disturbing development that needs to be addressed. But it isn’t addressed by a policy of clamping down on political adversaries as revenge for honest criticism. Trump can do that on his TrumpTV, if he’s foolish enough to actually launch it. Fortunately for America, it won’t take very long for that to devolve into a HUGE and humiliating catastrophe.

Journalists’ Org BLASTS Trump As ‘An Unprecedented Threat’ To Press Freedom

The United States has never seen the likes of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He has spent the last year and a half engaged solely in puerile insults and personal attacks. His victims have included women, minorities, veterans, and anyone he deemed less than reverential. However, the media has borne much of the weight of his manic scorn. When he isn’t “joking” about killing them, he is calling them scum, losers, dummies, and sleazy. He has revoked the press credentials of people or organizations he doesn’t like, including the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, Fusion, Univision, and more. For a couple of hours he even boycotted Fox News.

Donald Trump

Trump’s hostility toward the press is frighteningly intense. And his authoritarian attitude should alarm anyone who values free speech. Just last week two Pulitzer Prize winning journalists told NPR that Trump is a “clear and present danger” to the First Amendment. Now the Committee to Protect Journalists is weighing in with a statement “in response to Trump’s threats and vilification of the media.”

Here is the statement in full:

Guaranteeing the free flow of information to citizens through a robust, independent press is essential to American democracy. For more than 200 years this founding principle has protected journalists in the United States and inspired those around the world, including brave journalists facing violence, censorship, and government repression.

Donald Trump, through his words and actions as a candidate for president of the United States, has consistently betrayed First Amendment values. On October 6, CPJ’s board of directors passed a resolution declaring Trump an unprecedented threat to the rights of journalists and to CPJ’s ability to advocate for press freedom around the world.

Since the beginning of his candidacy, Trump has insulted and vilified the press and has made his opposition to the media a centerpiece of his campaign. Trump has routinely labeled the press as “dishonest” and “scum” and singled out individual news organizations and journalists.

He has mocked a disabled New York Times journalist and called an ABC News reporter a “sleaze” in a press conference. He expelled Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from a campaign press conference because he asked an “impertinent” question, and has publicly demeaned other journalists.

Trump has refused to condemn attacks on journalists by his supporters. His campaign has also systematically denied press credentials to outlets that have covered him critically, including The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Politico, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, Univision, and The Des Moines Register.

Throughout his campaign, Trump has routinely made vague proposals to limit basic elements of press and internet freedom. At a rally in February, Trump declared that if elected president he would “open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” In September, Trump tweeted, “My lawyers want to sue the failing @nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent. I said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting.”

While some have suggested that these statements are rhetorical, we take Trump at his word. His intent and his disregard for the constitutional free press principle are clear.

A Trump presidency would represent a threat to press freedom in the United States, but the consequences for the rights of journalists around the world could be far more serious. Any failure of the United States to uphold its own standards emboldens dictators and despots to restrict the media in their own countries. This appears to be of no concern to Trump, who indicated that he has no inclination to challenge governments on press freedom and the treatment of journalists.

When MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked him in December if his admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin was at all tempered by the country’s history of critical journalists being murdered, his response was: “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country… Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too.”

Through his words and actions, Trump has consistently demonstrated a contempt for the role of the press beyond offering publicity to him and advancing his interests.

For this reason CPJ is taking the unprecedented step of speaking out now. This is not about picking sides in an election. This is recognizing that a Trump presidency represents a threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.

Nuff said.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

UPDATE: On October 13, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued an “unprecedented” statement declaring Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump “a threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.” And October 14, the National Press Club put out a statement condemning Trump’s anti-press tactics as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.”

U.S. Falls to 47th Place On Press Freedom Index

Reporters Without Borders released their annual Press Freedom Index today that ranks 179 countries for their treatment of journalists and respect for a free and independent press. There were some points of light internationally, but as their report notes:

“Crackdown was the word of the year in 2011. Never has freedom of information been so closely associated with democracy. Never have journalists, through their reporting, vexed the enemies of freedom so much. Never have acts of censorship and physical attacks on journalists seemed so numerous.”

The United States performed particularly poorly, dropping 27 places this year to 47th worldwide. When compared only to the 20 largest nations (by GDP), the U.S. came in at #11, behind countries like Taiwan and South Korea.

The precipitous decline was attributed to the surge in arrests of reporters at Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. There was a notable pattern of both arrests and assaults by law enforcement of journalists covering the events. Last November the Society of Professional Journalists issued a condemnation of such practices and called on…

“…city administrators across the country to drop charges against journalists arrested while covering the Occupy Wall Street and related protests.”

Josh Stearns of FreePress.net has been tracking the arrests and harassment of journalists across the country. To date he has identified 36 victims. But this list is not comprehensive. One incident that was left out involved reporters from a Fox News affiliate (of all places) in New York who were covering the protests when they were embroiled in a chaotic scuffle that resulted in the photographer getting maced and the reporter getting struck by a police baton.

This is an embarrassing development for a country whose Constitution explicitly protects freedom of the press. It indicates that we still have some work to do and that eternal vigilance is not just a figure of speech..

Update On Journalists Arrested At Republican Convention

At the Republican National Convention in Minnesota this month, there was an unprecedented assault on freedom of the press as dozens of journalists were arrested along with the protesters they were covering. Those arrested included members of local broadcast media, the Associated Press, and mainstream newspapers, along with alternative media and Internet news sites.

The actions of law enforcement in St. Paul were thoroughly unjustifiable and smacked of police state suppression of free speech. It is a black mark on the city’s reputation, and the fact that it was done with the cooperation of the Republican Party doesn’t say much for their commitment to the First Amendment either.

Today Mayor Chris Coleman of St. Paul announced that the city will decline to prosecute all misdemeanor charges against journalists arrested during the convention. While dropping these charges is the only acceptable course of action, Coleman still believes that the arrests were proper and in the interests of the community. He asserts that “the police did their duty in protecting public safety.” (Exactly who in the public did Coleman think the journalists were threatening?) Nonetheless, he heaps praise on himself for reversing the police on their arrest authority.

“This decision reflects the values we have in Saint Paul to protect and promote our First Amendment rights to freedom of the press. A journalist plays a special role in our democracy and that role is just too important to ignore.”

If this is an example of how St. Paul protects and promotes the First Amendment, it is a sad commentary on their understanding of the Constitution. Dropping these charges is not a demonstration of principle. It is merely a correction of prior misbehavior. And it does nothing to undo the damage caused by the detentions in the first place.

If the reason for arresting the journalists was to limit the free distribution of information from the convention site, and there is no other plausible reason, then their mission was accomplished. Reporters cannot post stories from jail. By releasing them after the event was concluded they were effectively silenced. Whatever news these reporters might have gathered and supplied to the public is forever lost.

Another deficiency in Mayor Coleman’s statement is language that calls into question who will be cleared and what defines a journalist:

“The decision will only affect people identified as journalists who face the misdemeanor charge. Recognizing the growing media profession in print, broadcast and the Internet, the city attorney’s office will use a broad definition and verification to identify journalists who were caught up in mass arrests during the convention.”

What these means is that any person that doesn’t meet the city’s definition of a journalist, or any journalist the city chooses to indict on charges higher than a misdemeanor, is exempt from this absolution. This interpretation directs the power back to the government and away from the Constitution. It would be far too easy to apply these vague rules arbitrarily in order to harass selected individuals whom the government dislikes.

If the city of St. Paul faces no consequences for their repressive tactics, then they and other government bodies will have a green light for future clampdowns on lawful, Constitutionally protected activities. Hopefully one or more of these journalists will file suits for false arrest and violations of their Constitutional rights. At this point the courts are one of the few remaining paths left to affirm the principle of a press that is unshackled from government control.

Also on the path are the ACLU and Free Press. They are both in hot pursuit of truth and justice in this affair. Feel free to help them out.